Friday, December 21, 2012

Totally Texas -- Lights, cameras, tubas!

In December, North Texas turns into Glitter Gulch on the prairie, as gargantuan numbers of holiday bulbs light up the night. Nothing against the big displays, but even before hearing about hour-long waits just to enter their neighborhoods, I preferred the closer to home, less choreographed light displays.

You know the best places in your neighborhood to see lights. But in the interest of letting you spend more time actually looking at beautiful lights than idling your car’s engine, I’ll suggest a couple of my favorites.

Top has to be Highland Park. The lights are often professionally done, but with room for individual quirks like the larger than life deer whose picture illustrates this post. Some websites consider Preston Road the eastern boundary of the displays, but on recent drives, I liked Drexel Drive (one block south of Mockingbird) from Preston west to Airline.

Beverly Drive, just south and generally parallel to Drexel, also looked great from the Dallas North Tollway to Airline as well, with one of the biggest displays at the corner of Preston.

While in Highland Park, watch for the horse-drawn carriages whose leisurely pace adds to the charm of the place and season. Carriages are brightly-lit and follow the same traffic rules as motorized traffic. Google “carriage rides Highland Park” for information about the several companies offering horse-drawn transportation.

Also close to home for me is the Lakewood neighborhood in East Dallas, just west of White Rock Lake. Lakewood Boulevard itself, from Abrams Road to Lawther, includes everything from chic professional installations to the witty to downright funny and bright kitsch.

Share your own favorites here, or to find more, see


Normally, Thanks-Giving Square is an oasis of calm in downtown Dallas. But things will be far from quiet next Monday, December 24, when more than 200 tuba players gather at noon for the annual Tuba Christmas. As I write this, the weather forecast looks pleasant for Christmas Eve, so consider arriving early with family and blankets, bringing a picnic or feasting from the local food trucks.

The square and chapel at 1627 Pacific Avenue (between Akard and Ervay) are open daily, including holidays, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information, see

And while you’re downtown, take a look at Neiman-Marcus, 1618 Main Street. Its windows are always great holiday photo ops, with free interactive displays for kids. For times, see

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